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Erectile dysfunction cures - what works?

What are the most effective ED treatments?

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It can be normal to have troubles with erection from time to time, so this is no cause for concern. However, if the issue with your little guy keeps persisting, it is defined as erectile dysfunction. ED or erectile dysfunction is referred to as the lack of ability to get or maintain an erection. 25% of ED cases nowadays are related to drug side effects. 

10% of men suffer from long-term erectile dysfunction. Not only can ED have an affect on your sex life, it can also cause affecrs a man’s self confidence and cause further problems in relationships. There is a common household criminal that can cause ED is alcohol. So do not be too hard on yourself (pun intended) if your little guy fails to rise to the occasion once in a while. But if you notice this being a common occurrence, it might be time to contact your GP and help pin down the cause of your ED!

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ED Symptoms 

Erectile dysfunction symptoms are:

  • Inability to get an erection
  • Inability to keep an erection 
  • Reduction in libido

There are many parts of the human body involved in the process of an erection. This process is complex and includes the brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles and blood vessels. ED can occur when there is a problem in one of these individual motors. On the other hand, mental health troubles such as stress or performance anxiety can result or perpetuate in ED. Usually, it is a combination of physical and psychological problems that contribute to ED. 

Getting an erection

Getting into the mood is not the only thing that is needed to get an erection. There is an intricate system working behind the scenes that is needed to get an erection. These include the heart, blood, nerves and hormones. 

The process starts in the brain. Arousal triggers the brain into sending chemical signals to the body via the nerves to the blood vessels. These signals stimulate the blood vessels to release nitric oxide which further stimulates an enzyme that is involved in the production of messenger cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). 

cGMP is a key chemical messenger that causes the muscles to relax and arteries to dilate in the penis. All these changes lead to an increased blood flow to the penis. Following this, the veins in the penis contract, trapping all the blood in the penile erectile tissue leading to swelling and stiffening of the penis. So now, you have a hard erection. 

The erect penis carry 8 times more blood than flaccid penises and once the erection is over, the blood disperses from the penis and normal blood flow is restored. 

There are several reasons why there is inadequate blood flow to the penis ie. due to the narrowing of blood vessels supplying blood to the penis. These conditions include:

Lifestyle causes can also affect blood flow to the penis. These include:

Common medical culprits that cause ED to include:

  • Water pills (diuretics)
  • Blood pressure medications (antihypertensives)
  • Allergy medications (antihistamines/histamine H2-receptor antagonists)
  • Mental health medications (antidepressants)
  • Drugs to treat Parkinson’s
  • Cardiac medications (antiarrhythmics) 
  • Sedatives for sleep
  • Anxiety medications (muscle relaxants)
  • Treatments for inflammatory conditions (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • Testosterone or oestrogen 
  • Cancer treatment (chemotherapy)
  • Epilepsy medications (anti-seizure medications)

If you believe these medications are causing your ED, contact your prescribing doctor now to discuss an alternative medication regime. There could be alternative drug therapies you could try that will not result in ED.

Remedies

Whether ED can be reversed depends on the underlying cause. In general, yes, in many cases ED can be reversed but a study conducted by the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that after 5 years there is a 29% remission rate of ED. While there are many ways to reverse ED, lifestyle changes can have a big impact on ED reversal. 

Relaxation exercises such as meditation and mindfulness can help with stress-related ED. Exercising regularly for 30 minutes 3 times a week can have a huge improvement on blood flow and thus blood flow to the penis. If excessive weight is the reason behind your ED, exercising and losing weight will not only help improve your blood pressure levels but also your cholesterol and testosterone levels. If you have a heart condition or diabetes that is the reason behind your ED, making the heart healthy and sugar intake changes to your diet are extremely important. 

Training your pelvic floor by doing kegel exercises can improve your ED. These muscles are essential in urination and ejaculation. Regular kegel exercises can strengthen your pelvic muscles, improving your ED. This 2010 study found that men suffering from ED due to diabetes can benefit the most from these kegel exercises. 

Other medication remedies such as Viagra or Sildenafil are available for ED. Viagra is just a branded version of the drug name Sildenafil. Sildenafil is a PDE-5 inhibitor that blocks a specific cGMP-specific phosphodiesterase type 5 enzyme that is responsible for regulating blood flow to the penis. Blocking this enzyme allows men to both get and maintain an erection when stimulated. You do need a prescription to get Viagra, but there is now a sister brand called Viagra Connect which you can buy straight from the pharmacy. A recent study has shown that Viagra has helped ? men with ED. Viagra and Sildafenil are both available on Dr Felix. 

If you are looking for other solutions that do not require medications, there are mechanical devices like a vacuum pump, creams, injections, penile implants and new sex toys that use vibrations to stimulate male arousal. 

Sometimes surgery might be the only answer if the ED is caused by male anatomical reasons. Other times that surgery can be offered are after medicinal and non-medical options have been trialled and explored without any positive effects. During the surgery, a device will be implanted into your penis that enables an immediate erection when the time comes. The surgery is very effective and only a small percent end in failure (5%).

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